Published on May 9th, 2017 | by UC&D Magazine0
Hang ‘Em High
Entrata’s New Four Story Class A Office Space In Lehi Sets A New Standard In Utah For Tilt-Up Office Space.
The new Entrata corporate headquarters in Lehi not only sits in a prominent Traverse Heights location – majestically overlooking I-15 at the north end of Utah County – but it also broke new ground by becoming the first true four- story tilt-up concrete office project in the state. The building, which held its grand opening ceremonies on March 17, features 106,000 square feet of Class A office space. Located just north of the Adobe building and Cabela’s, the new Entrata offices are truly a beacon on a hill, and fit in perfectly with other Silicon Slopes projects populating the burgeoning Lehi tech corridor.
“We are proud of this building and its location,” said Pat Moffat, director of construction for owners The Boyer Company. “Over the past few years, we have constructed over 1 million square feet in the Draper/Sandy/Lehi area, and we feel this building is a key part of our south valley portfolio.”
Entrata — the nation’s largest provider of website portals and payment processing to the multifamily home industry and a leading developer of property management software tools —
currently employs more than 1,400 people globally. According to Chief Operating Officer Chase Harrington, around 400 employees are expected to initially populate the new headquarters, but the building also will accommodate the company’s expected expansion to 750 workers by the year 2020.
“The economic climate and booming I.T. infrastructure of Silicon Slopes has been integral to the growth and development of our company since Day 1,” Harrington said. “The location of the new building – set on the top of the hill, overlooking the rest of the slope on the east side of I-15 – was chosen to improve visibility of our brand and accessibility for our employees.”
The project turned out to be a true team effort between more than a handful of companies as Tom Stuart Construction and designers AE URBIA partnered on the core and shell of the building while Layton Construction’s Interior Construction Specialists and designers Method Studio handled the tenant improvement side of things. The aggressive construction time frame for the project, especially with all teams involved, made things a bit hectic at times.
According to Marbe H. Agee, principal, Method Studio, the entire project was designed and documented within a two- month period and constructed within six months.
“The undertaking of completing a ground up project and interior buildout in the allotted time frame was daunting,” Agee said. “For all parties to be successful, it was necessary to work right behind – and sometimes on top of – each other. Method Studio, AE URBIA, Tom Stuart Construction and Layton ICS all worked in a collaborative approach. We understood that for one of us to succeed, we all had to. We shared drawing files, design capital, labor and a willing attitude.”
“The Entrata building has true four- story, tilt-up wall panels that were cast on grade and then lifted into place,” said James M. Williams, president of AE URBIA. “The panels support gravity and lateral loads, thus eliminating the need for perimeter steel beams and columns. In addition to supporting structural loads, the panels also provide the building envelope, while eliminating the need for expensive waterproofing and architectural finishes.”
Williams said that, historically, due to their durability and economy, tilt-up buildings have been used for class C warehouse buildings. It’s only been in recent years that the tilt-up approach has been elevated to class A buildings for office and retail use, as well as religious and school buildings.
According to Williams, several other factors have prevented the tilt-up approach for multi-story buildings in Utah – including the limited availability of larger cranes required to lift the heavier concrete panels, and bracing systems that are tall enough and strong enough.
“There has also been a misconception that a tilt-up concrete building can’t provide a high-enough glazing ration for realtors,” Williams said. “(But) all of these challenges and misconceptions have been overcome.”
One of the main construction challenges in relation to the sheer size of the concrete panels was creating them at the location itself.
“Being on the side of the hill, it was difficult to create a flat waste lab area where the panels could be poured, and then easily tilted into place,” Boyer’s Moffat said.
“There was a lot of earthwork that had to be done, including the installation of soil- reinforced retaining walls,” Williams said. Still, he noted, it only took eight to 10 days to lift and brace the wall panels. “There was a little down time waiting for some of the panels to reach lifting strengths.”
With concrete panels that are over 60 feet in length, Williams said that to help eliminate congestion, the panels were braced to the exterior of the building using helical anchors at each brace location.
“We also had concerns about the bracing of the panels in such a high-wind area,” Williams said. “The bracing worked well even during some very windy times.”
One of the biggest advantages to the tilt-up building approach vs. traditional steel beam construction is cost reduction.
“Tilt-up construction has been shown to save as much as 20 percent over conventionally constructed office buildings,” Williams said. “Tilt- up construction eliminates the need for perimeter columns and beams, has excellent sound characteristics, provides durability, eliminates waterproofing, eliminates expensive architectural finishes, minimizes future maintenance, has excellent thermal properties, is not subject to mold, withstands both gravity and lateral loads and is a safer method of construction since most of the work takes place on the ground prior to lifting. The construction schedule can also be reduced over conventional construction.”
One of the supposed downsides to the tilt-up approach is the apparent lack of windows. Not so with the Entrata building, Moffat said.
“I think that there is a stigma in place with the tilt-up that you don’t get as many windows … as you do with typical steel-frame construction,” Moffat said. “However, our building has over 45 percent glass. I do think that given the right set of circumstances, we would build another similar-type building.”
With the success of the Entrata build now in the books, Williams said he expects to see an increase of tilt-up construction for class A office buildings of up to six and even seven stories high.
“It has already been embraced in the Texas and California markets,” Williams said of the larger stories builds using the tilt-up approach. “We have received a lot of compliments on the (Entrata) building’s design. Now that the building is up, most people have no idea that it is a tilt-up concrete building. In their minds, it’s just a great-looking class A office building.”
On the tenant improvement side of things, the interior makes an immediate statement with a grand lobby featuring a two-story LED video wall behind the front desk, a main staircase, an employee retail store and gym area off to the right, and views into a state-of-the art Network Operations Center.
“The lobby has a two-story atrium with a 16-foot wide by 24-foot tall digital screen,” said Agee. “The monumental open stair playfully hints at surprises yet to come by adding a touch of ‘Entrata red’ to the underside of the treads.”
Some of those “surprises yet to come,” include employee amenities such as Entrata’s double-decker red bus, a multi- purpose café, outdoor basketball court with stadium seating, an outdoor amphitheater, a game room, a mothers’ room, rooftop patio, huddle rooms, ping pong and pool tables, and a massage room where employees can receive monthly 15-minute massages.
“It was important for Entrata to create a space that would attract and retain employees,” Agee said.
Dave Knorr, project manager for Layton ICS said another cool aspect to the offices inside the building is that they eschew the typical box or rectangular spaces.
“They really wanted to have something a little bit kind of edgy” he said, “and so the designer came in and there isn’t a straight wall in the place. So every wall in every conference room is on an angle within the space. They have some really unique conference rooms. You can walk on all four sides of the conference room, but none of the walls are 90-degree walls – they’re all on an angle, so it makes the space feel bigger because there’s not just straight walls down the side or down the middle. Everything is on an angle except for the main core of the building.”
Agee said that as successful as Entrata is in its market sector, the company still doesn’t take itself too seriously, an attitude which shows up in various design elements.
“Their internal tagline is ‘Business in the front and party in the back,’” Agee said. “It is only natural that they would name their meeting rooms after famous mullets – yes you read that right – hair styles. Visitors are treated to a larger-than-life image of Hulk Hogan’s famous blonde mullet in the ‘Hogan’ meeting room.” There are also the MacGyver, and Swayze (after Patrick Swayze) conference rooms.
“We were determined to create a space that aligned with our culture, branding and business philosophy,” Harrington said. “In a traditionally buttoned-up industry, we are a company that stands out as vivacious, quirky, smart and focused on disruptive innovation bringing much needed change and function to the technology being used by our clients.”
In that sense, Entrata would appear to be a perfect match for its new corporate headquarters. “I have to compliment the Entrata team,” Moffat said. “They had a vision of what the building could be.”
Owner: Boyer Company
Architect: AE URBIA (core and shell), Method Studio (tenant improvement)
General Contractor: Tom Stuart Construction (core and shell), Layton Interior Construction Specialists (tenant improvement)
Engineering Team: Structural — AE URBIA (aka J.M. Williams & Associates Inc.).
Civil – LEI. Electrical — Fellex Engineering. Mechanical —David L. Jesen & Associates, Inc. Landscape — Foresite Design Group LC.
Key Subcontractors: Mountain Crane Service , Tom Stuart Construction, Salmon Electric, Broken Arrow Plumbing, Stratton and Bratt Inc. Landscape, Hadco Construction —excavation, Geneva, C & S Steel Erectors, Advanced Roofing, Salmon HVAC, WOI Steel, Champion Fabricating, Mollerup Glass, Otis Elevator, HB Design Group